Philadelphia 76ers ’07-’08 Preview

Zack Rosenblatt (’09)/ Eastside Staff

76ersFor the first time in 11 years, the Sixers will be beginning the season without the services of Allen Iverson. Without a doubt, Iverson will never be forgotten in local circles for the entertaining 11 (10 and a half actually) years he spent contributing to the Sixers organization. He embodied the word “franchise player” and was the face of all professional sports in Philadelphia. Despite all the controversy and trade rumors, Iverson gave it his all in every single game he played.

On December 19th, 2006 Allen Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets for Andre Miller, Joe Smith & two 1st-rounds draft picks. On the surface, it seemed as though the Sixers could have gotten more.

At the time of the trade the Sixers were just 5-18. The Sixers were way over the cap with not much optimism for the future. Chris Webber was proving to be one of the many overpaid mistakes made by General Manager Billy King. Then something happened… they started winning.

In total, the Sixers went 30-29 after the trade and an impressive 18-11 after the all-star break. In mid-January, the Sixers bought out Chris Webbers contract, ending a tumultuous run. Andre Miller established himself as the new point guard and leader. The “Other A.I.,” Andre Iguodala showcased himself as the new face of the franchise, and other young players proved they have a future in this league.

Analysis

Evans: Toughness and Rebounding are his only positive qualities. He couldn’t shoot his way out of a paper bag.
Young: High Flying, athletic swingman, is only 19. So the word “potential” is commonly thrown around. I don’t see him being ready for another 1-2 years.
Smith: Good athlete, lacks strength to play center in the NBA.
Byars: Solid defender, Good outside shot. Not much upside, likely role player.
Hill: Good size, shot blocking ability. Not much of a threat away from the basket. Could turn out to be a steal.
Sanchez: Likely to stay overseas.
Booth: Just another big body to fill out the roster.

Offseason Moves

Draft Picks:
(No. 12) Thaddeus Young, SF, Georgia Tech
(No. 20) Jason Smith, F/C, Colorado State
(No. 42) Derrick Byars, SG, Vanderbilt
(No. 55) Herbert Hill, F/C, Providence

Additions:
Reggie Evans (Denver)
Ricky Sanchez (Denver)
Calvin Booth (Washington)

Losses:
Joe Smith (Chicago)
Steven Hunter (Denver)
Bobby Jones (Denver)
Alan Henderson (Free Agent)

Season Outlook:

Despite all the promise the team showed after the trade, you shouldn’t expect too much this season. This team is still very young and outside of Miller, the team has no proven veterans. Without trying to downgrade their effort to end the season, you could easily make the argument that the opposing teams did not play as hard against the Sixers, as they did not expect much. Plus, Andre Miller is on the wrong side of 30, and that’s when most NBA point guards start their decline.

All in all, the roster is filled with players with decent upside, but potential means nothing in this league. The exits of Iverson and Webber were the beginning of the rebuilding process for this once proud franchise. With Philadelphia having some of the toughest fans (myself among them) in the country, you can expect repeated criticism directed toward the organization. But last seasons successful run was a step in the right direction.

The Sixers brass has been publicly talking about a three year plan in place make the Sixers into championship contenders. Following this season the contracts of Chris Webber, Aaron Mckie, and Kevin Ollie come off the books, clearing $29 million from the payroll, and giving the Sixers a chance to pursue a marquee player. Don’t get too excited, as President/GM Billy King has proven adept at making mistakes. Recently, he has given over $60 Million to Samuel Dalembert, $24 Million to Willie Green, and another $20 to Kevin Ollie.

Anyway, you should not expect much from the team this year, but this franchise has a bright future. The main concern for the Sixers this season is to just play their hardest night in, night out, as most teams in the league will be more talented. This season will be more about development of young prospects such as Louis Williams and Thaddeus Young.

Prediction: 32-50

Overview:
06/07 Leaders
Points- Andre Iguodala (18.2)
Rebounds- Samuel Dalembert (8.9)
Assists- Andre Miller (7.3)
Steals- Andre Iguodala (2.00)
Blocks- Samuel Dalembert (1.94)
3 Pointers Made (Total) – Kyle Korver (132)

Roster By Position:

G-
Andre Miller
Louis Williams
Willie Green
Kevin Ollie
Derrick Byars (R)

F-
Andre Iguodala
Kyle Korver
Thaddeus Young (R)
Reggie Evans
Louis Amundson
Rodney Carney

C-
Samuel Dalembert
Calvin Booth
Herbert Hill (R)
Jason Smith (R)
Shavlik Randolph